Authors: Lucas Flint
Tags: #young adult, #superheroes
Robert suddenly ran at me. I thought he was going to punch me, but instead he ran past me, though I felt his hands reach into one of my pockets and grab something.
Then Robert returned in front of the acid vat and held up a clean, gleaming capsule with my powerless gas inside it.
“Hey!” I said. “Give that back.”
Robert smirked. “Why don’t you get it yourself?”
Robert hurled the capsule over his shoulder. It flew straight into the acid vat, where it melted, unleashing a small cloud of yellow gas into the air below Tara before it rapidly dissipated.
“There,” said Robert, wiping his hands together. “Now we’re equal.”
My hands balled into fists my super strength coursed through my veins. “So I guess it will just have to be an old-fashioned fight to the death, then.”
“Sure looks like it,” said Robert. “Gotta admit, I’m kind of surprised you’re going to fight, because I thought you’d be shitting yourself in fear now. After all, I—”
I didn’t let him finish, because I activated my super speed and ran at him as fast as a bullet. I punched Robert in the face, the blow sending him flying backwards. He crashed through several crates before coming to a stop inside a large crate full of what looked like bowling balls.
I ran over to him before he could get up, grabbed him by the collar of his shirt, and raised him up. His face looked bloodied and broken now, though he still managed to look at me in surprise.
“What?” said Robert. He actually sounded surprised. “What … was that?”
“That, my friend, was a punch to the face,” I said. I pulled back my other fist. “You remember that I said I was going to kill you? I wasn’t kidding when I said that. At all.”
y other fist flew at Robert’s face, but at the last second, Robert turned immaterial and fell through my hand, causing my fist to hit nothing but empty air.
I staggered forward from the momentum, but then Robert leaped out of the ground and flew straight through me. Immediately, a familiar cold sank into my bones and I fell onto ground, my teeth chattering.
Then I felt Robert’s hands grab the back of my suit and throw me. I flew through the air crazily before I crashed into another crate, this one empty, and lay there dazed for a moment before I saw Robert flying toward me from above.
Activating my super speed, I got up and ran through the crate just as Robert landed on it and sent chunks of wood flying everywhere. I managed to dodge most of the debris, however, and ran at Robert again, throwing another punch at him, but Robert dodged it and responded with a punch of his own.
But I caught Robert’s fist and twisted his arm, making him cry out in pain before I socked him in the face. But then Robert smashed his head into mine, the blow dazing my senses and sending me staggering backwards, letting go of his fist. My head felt like it had been cracked wide open, like an egg, but I recovered just in time to see Robert coming straight at me.
I flew straight up into the air, allowing Robert to rush by underneath me. But then Robert jumped into the air as well and tackled me, sending us falling down to the floor again.
When we crashed onto the floor, I didn’t waste any time in throwing Robert off my body. He rolled across the floor several times before coming to a stop, but he was back on his feet in an instant, as was I.
But we didn’t reengage right away. Instead, we started circling each other, looking for an opening in which to attack. Robert looked even worse than he did just a few minutes ago, panting and sweating, even bleeding in some places, while I just felt tired because it had been a while since I last fought this intensely.
“Ready to give up yet, Robby?” I said, panting and sweating as we circled. “Because I can do this all day.”
“Don’t call me Robby,” Robert growled.
He suddenly slammed his foot on the ground. A tremor shook the floor, knocking me off-balance, and then Robert zoomed toward me. He body-slammed me, sending me flying. I crashed through another crate and was stopped by a final crate that cracked under the impact of catching me.
Shaking my head, I looked up in time to see Robert flying toward me again. Without thinking, I flew toward him, pulling my fist back.
We met halfway and hurled our fists at each other. The impact of our fists colliding into each other sent us both flying to separate ends of the warehouse. I smashed through a catwalk near the ceiling and rolled several times across the floor before I came to a stop, dazed by the impact of our blows. My hand hurt, but I ignored the pain and forced myself to get up back to my feet.
Then I looked up, expecting to see Robert coming at me, but he was nowhere to be seen. Maybe he had been knocked out by our collision? Or maybe he was still recovering and hadn’t yet managed to get back on his feet?
Then I heard something flying and saw a huge crate coming straight toward me. I immediately ran away, using my super speed to avoid the crate, which crashed loudly onto the floor where I had been standing mere moments before.
Skidding to a halt, I looked up in time to see Robert coming at me again. He landed on the floor in front of me and starting throwing punches at me, but I blocked them with my own fists, although his fists came so fast and so furiously that I had a hard time keeping up.
But one of his fists went too wide, giving me an opening. I slammed my fist into his gut, causing Robert to gasp in pain, before I brought my other fist down on his head. Robert smashed into the floor so hard that he created a crack where his forehead hit, but I didn’t allow him to get up.
Instead, I kicked Robert over and slammed my foot down on his chest. I raised my fist to smash his face in, but then Robert’s body suddenly became transparent and my foot sank through his chest.
Then Robert rolled away from my foot and, turning solid again, jumped to his feet and unleashed a deluge of oil from his hands. The oil quickly went under my feet, causing me to lose my balance and slip. I fell flat on my back onto the oil, briefly stunned by the impact, and before I could do anything, Robert grabbed me by the neck and then flew us into the air.
He immediately threw me at several crates. I crashed through the crates, smashing through wood and metal, until I burst out from one of them and rolled until I hit something hard and solid. Dazed, I shook my head and looked up to see that I had rolled to a stop in front of the vat of acid that Tara was hanging above, putting a small dent in its side.
That was when I noticed that Tara was waking up. She was blinking and shaking her head, a confused look on her face as she looked around the warehouse.
“Ohhh …” said Tara. She blinked. “Where am I? What happened?”
“Tara?” I said. “You’re awake?”
Tara looked down at me, but she must have noticed the acid vat, because she gasped and tried to jerk away, but since she was hanging from the ceiling, she only succeeded in swaying back and forth awkwardly. “Help!”
I was about to tell her that she just needed to calm down and wait for me to help her, but then I heard a yell and I looked over to see Robert flying toward me. Before I could get up to dodge him, Robert landed in front of me, grabbed me, and threw me behind him again.
I landed hard on the floor, and before I could get up, Robert slammed his foot on my chest, squeezing the air out of my lungs. Then Robert grabbed me by the collar of my costume and started punching me in the face over and over again, each blow hitting me harder and harder. His blows came so fast and so viciously that I couldn’t even respond; it was like getting punched in the face by a piston over and over again.
“This is for my father,” said Robert, though I could barely hear his voice in between his punches. “This is for my mother. And this is for my life, which you have completely and totally ruined!”
I heard Tara screaming, but I couldn’t react. Robert's punches had left me too dazed to react. I could barely even think.
Finally, Robert must have gotten bored of beating me silly, because he eventually stopped punching me. It felt like my face had been shattered into pieces, while my brain felt like it had been shaken and bounced around like a basketball. I felt blood leaking from my nose and the corner of my mouth, though I thought the damage was likely more extensive than that.
Robert was panting hard. He had not let go of me and didn’t seem likely to. He just glared down at me like he was trying to kill me with nasty looks alone.
“How does that feel, Kevin?” said Robert. He smiled, revealing that a lot of teeth were cracked and out of alignment. “Does it hurt? Because that’s nothing in comparison to how I felt when you killed my dad, and then my mom. You feel only a fraction of the pain that I’ve experienced every day of my life since you punched me through that cafeteria wall last year.”
I couldn’t respond, but I heard Tara above say, “Kevin? Why did you call him Kevin? Is that Bolt’s real name?”
Robert looked over his shoulder up at Tara. I also looked up at her and saw that Tara was looking down at us, her glasses just barely hanging onto her ears and nose. She looked confused and afraid, like she wasn’t sure what was going on.
“What, you mean to tell me that your boyfriend didn’t tell you his real identity?” said Robert. “I guess I can take a moment to show you his real identity, since it sounds like you don’t know it yet. I can’t wait to see your reaction.”
Robert turned back to me and ripped my mask off my face. He then held me up so that Tara could see me and I could see her. She looked shocked.
“Yeah, that’s right,” said Robert. “Your boyfriend, Kevin Jason, is the superhero Bolt.”
“No way,” said Tara. “Kevin … is that really you?”
I nodded. “Sorry … for not … telling you …”
Tara looked at a loss for words now, while Robert just chuckled.
“Amazing,” said Robert. He pulled me down and looked me straight in the eyes. “And here I was thinking that you had revealed your secret identity to all of your friends. Wonder why you never told your girlfriend? Didn’t trust her? Or maybe it’s because she hates superhumans? I dunno and don’t really care. Your girlfriend’s betrayed face is the last thing you’re about to see.”
Robert suddenly raised me above his head. He turned around to face the acid vat, which was still bubbling and stinking up the place. I was still too dazed to fight back, though I was conscious enough to realize how Robert intended to kill me.
“Now, Kevin, I am finally going to get the sweet, sweet revenge I’ve been denied so long,” said Robert. “But try not to scream too much once you hit the acid. That would be really annoying.”
Tara was screaming at Robert to let me go, but Robert resolutely ignored her. I tried to get out of Robert’s grip, but he held me too tightly. All I could do was stare at the acid vat, wondering how it would feel to be eaten alive by that stuff.
Then, without warning, a laser came out of nowhere and struck Robert in the side. Robert shouted in pain as he flew to the side, dropping me onto the ground. I raised my head and watched as Robert flew through the air and crashed into even more crates, where he did not rise from.
Confused, I heard someone behind me shout, “Kevin!” and I looked over my shoulder to see Dad, in his full Genius costume, standing on top of a nearby crate. He jumped off it as soon as I saw him and ran over to me.
“Kevin, are you all right?” said Dad as he stopped before me. “Do you need help?”
I shook my head and slowly rose to my feet, rubbing the side of my face that Robert had beaten in with his fist. “No, but thanks for the help. When did you get here?”
“Just a few seconds ago,” said Dad. “I came to see if you needed help. Iron Horn tried to convince me to stay outside because he didn’t know if Robert had set up some system to kill Tara if anyone other than you entered, but I ignored him and came inside anyway.”
I glanced up at Tara, who was still staring at me in shock. She looked like she was about to faint, which wouldn’t be that surprising given what she’d already been through so far.
“Tara’s okay, I think,” I said, looking at Dad again. “But you need to get her out of here while I deal with Robert.”
“You mean like how you were just dealing with him now?” said Dad.
“Dad, this is serious,” I said. “Robert is insanely powerful. You’re smart, but—”
“I know,” Dad interrupted. He held up his left gauntlet. “That’s why I brought this along.”
I looked at the gauntlet and saw a yellow gas swirling inside it. “Is that the powerless gas?”
“Yes,” said Dad, nodding. “One shot should be enough to completely de-power Robert.”
“Really?” I said. I looked over at the spot where Robert had been knocked away. “Then why don’t you shoot him now? He still hasn’t gotten back up yet.”
“I didn’t shoot him when he was holding you up because I didn’t want to de-power you as well,” said Dad. “But you have a point. Best to de-power him now when he’s defenseless.”
Dad aimed his gauntlet at the pile of smashed crates where Robert had landed, but before he could fire the missile containing the gas, Robert exploded from the crates and flew toward us. He was coming straight for Dad, so I flew to meet him halfway and we collided in the air, holding each other back as we circled in the air.
“Get out of the way, loser,” Robert growled as we struggled in the air. “I’m going to do to your dad what he did to mine.”
“Sorry, but I like having a living Dad,” I said.
I grabbed his hands and hurled him toward the floor. Robert smashed into the floor, creating another small crater, but then he immediately turned transparent and sank through the concrete.
“Damn it,” I said. I looked at Dad, who was now looking around the area urgently. “Dad, watch out. Robert could appear anywhere.”
Just as I said that, Robert shot out of the ground and flew straight through Dad. Dad immediately collapsed onto his hands and knees, his whole body shaking as Robert rematerialized above him. Robert raised his fists to take down Dad, but I shot toward him as fast as I could.
But right before I could slam into Robert, he whirled around and punched me in the face with a blow that came like a runaway train. The blow sent me flying to side and I crashed into the floor hard enough to create a small crater, where I lay, dazed and unable to think clearly for a moment.